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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: king fisher fleet

“Intro to Fishing” Class, Punta Gorda, Beginning October 28, 2013. Taught by Capt. Ralph Allen, King Fisher Fleet

by on Sep.27, 2013, under Middle Charlotte Harbor

PUNTA GORDA, FL – An introductory course in Florida Fishing, called Let’s Go Fishing!, is being offered at the PGI Civic Association building on Shreve Street. Topics to be covered include fishing techniques, tackle selection, rigging, knot tying, lures, baits, cast nets, fish identification, tides, and fishing regulations for fishing in fresh and salt waters of Southwest Florida. Rods, reels, lures, nets and other fishing equipment will be displayed during the class and there will be a number of useful handouts issued to students. The class is geared towards beginning anglers, but more experienced fishermen will pick up helpful tips as well. The instructor is long time local fishing guide and owner of King Fisher Fleet, Capt. Ralph Allen, who might even reveal the locations of a few local hotspots! The course is open to all members of the public and includes six evening sessions which are to be held from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. beginning on Monday October 28. The cost for the class is $40 and advance registration is recommended by calling 941-637-1655.

King Fisher Fleet offers six cruises including daylong cruises to the islands of Cayo Costa and Cabbage Key, half-day river and harbor cruises, short afternoon cruises, sunset cruises, and Christmas light canal cruises. King Fisher Fleet also offers charter fishing with some of the best fishing guides in southwest Florida, departing every day from Fishermen’s Village Marina. Gift certificates for cruises as well as for fishing charters are available at the King Fisher office.

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At Punta Gorda Without A Boat? Give King Fisher Fleet A Try!

by on Aug.07, 2013, under CAPT. TOMMY'S BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS, TRAVELS, Middle Charlotte Harbor, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, Upper Charlotte Harbor

Yes, there are times when I travel to good fishing spots in our state and don’t take my boat.  After all, sometimes I’m on a trip that’s featuring food and food writing, not fishing.  That was the case last week when I was invited to participate in Charlotte County and The Gulf Islands’ food writer trip.  I did manage to take a shorter-than-I’d-like trip with Capt. Ralph Allen, who owns King Fisher Fleet, with a whole bunch of boats headquartered at downtown Punta Gorda’s Fishermens Village.  Ralph and I took one of the smaller boats, a Hewe’s 18 Redfisher, and headed south towards Burnt Store Marina, on a high tide looking for reds and snook.  Charlotte Harbor, the 2nd largest body of water (after Tampa Bay) in Florida, was surprisingly calm and we were able to leave the fish biting on the East Wall, north of Burnt Store, and head quickly over to the area around Turtle Bay.  There, where we’d expected to find more fish on the falling tide, the bite was slow despite Ralph’s carefully and quiet poling efforts.  I blamed summertime;  Ralph blamed the fact that I insisted on using only artificial lures and that I made him leave his bait net back at the marina!  So it goes!

Capt. Ralph at work! Be sure to give your guide a big tip if he poles you around all morning!

Despite his "live bait" attitude, Ralph managed a nice keeper trout on a Rapala Skitterwalk plug!

In addition to a variety of inshore and offshore fishing opportunities, King Fisher Fleets also offers day trips to Cabbage Key and Cayo Costa State Park.  Cabbage Key is an isolated island in middle Charlotte Harbor, and its restaurant’s cheeseburger is supposedly the inspiration for singer Jimmy Buffet’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise”.  Cayo Costa is an isolated Gulf beach island that’s just out-of-the-way enough to make you think you’ve left all your cares behind!

A sunset dinner at the Captain's Table Restaurant at Fishermen's Village is a great way to start the evening.

If you're lucky, the setting sun will light up the Peace River Bridge.

Be sure to bring your camera, or whatever device you have, to capture the beautiful Charlotte Harbor sunset.

Finally, don’t miss taking one of the King Fisher Fleet’s Sunset Cruises.  The hour-and-a-half cruise makes a loop around the mouth of the Peace River and the Captain does a really great job of setting the boat up for some wonderful sunset shots!  A good cheap date, or just time to relax after a seafood dinner at any of Punta Gorda’s great restaurants!

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Charlotte Harbor and Gulf Waters Fishing Report from King Fisher Fleet, Punta Gorda, 1/2/13

by on Jan.02, 2013, under Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva, Middle Charlotte Harbor, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, Upper Charlotte Harbor

Gulf of Mexico

January is a peak month for close-to-shore bottom fishing on small ledges in 30 to 50 feet of water.  Gag grouper, mangrove snapper, triggerfish, large sheepshead and grunts will make up the bulk of the catches with a few hogfish, black sea bass, yellowtail snapper and mutton snapper mixed in.  Sometimes the smaller ledges (18 to 24 inches in height) produce the best fishing since these little ledges are overlooked by many offshore anglers.  While most of the action will be near the bottom this month, there will be occasional visits to the area by schools of bonita and Spanish mackerel so it may pay to fish a freelined shrimp while you’re bottom fishing.  Some years cobia show up on offshore wrecks in January, and on some of the deeper ledges and reefs there will be a few amberjack.  Red grouper is open this month and will (probably) be closed in February and March, so get ‘em while you can.

Charlotte Harbor

More Charlotte Harbor anglers will spend more hours targeting trout  this month than any other species.  Trout will be found in canals, boat basins and waterways during cooler weather and will move out onto nearby flats after several days of temperatures approaching the 80 degree mark.  The old standby shrimp/popping cork rig is hard to beat for numbers of trout, but skilled anglers can sometimes catch more fish on jigs.  Redfish can be found in most area mangrove creeks and canals and are starting to appear upriver.  Sheepshead spawning season is now getting underway and these tasty zebra striped fish are bunching up around pier and dock pilings and on the artificial reefs in the harbor, and a few table-sized mangrove snapper are inhaling baits at those same locations.  Pompano have been on-again and off-again in recent weeks with catches made along the edges of the flats which border the ICW and, surprisingly, back in some of the larger creeks.


*Snook season closed until September 1, 2013

*Gag grouper season is closed, opens June 1

*All other grouper close Feb. 1, open April 1

*Gray triggerfish  in Federal Waters opened January 1

*Greater amberjack will close June 1, open August 1

Elissa Allen
Marketing Director

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Charlotte Harbor and Southwest Florida Gulf Fishing Report–from King Fisher Fleet, Punta Gorda

by on Dec.05, 2012, under Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva, Middle Charlotte Harbor, Upper Charlotte Harbor

Gulf of Mexico

It’s transition time in the Gulf.  Gag grouper are moving onto inshore structures in good numbers as they do every fall/winter, and early-season action indicate that it’s a strong run this year.  It may be frustrating to release these beautiful fish during the closed season, but they sure are fun to catch!  Good news:  the ledges inhabited by the gags are also holding mangrove snapper and grunts, and the winter sheepshead run is just starting to get underway too, so if you fish shrimp on a few light rigs you’ll be able to take home enough quality fish for dinner.   These fish can now be caught in as little as 30 feet of water offshore, so you don’t even need to leave sight of land.  What about the mackerel?  Spanish mackerel have thinned considerably, but kings were caught in fair numbers just off the beach in the last week of November.  Good king mackerel action which lasts until Christmas has happened here in past seasons and may be the case for 2012.

Charlotte Harbor

Mackerel fishing can be good in the lower harbor during early December, but your odds of success go down as the calendar marches forward.  Redfish action has been sporadic with some good catches in Bull Bay and in Matlacha Pass.  Pompano have appeared on both sides of the harbor outside the bars and around some creek and canal mouths.  Mangrove snapper and sheepshead are hitting shrimp fished around rip rap in the canals and at the artificial reefs, and the sheepshead fishing will improve as winter progresses.  Black drum are beginning to gather around the bridges and in some of the Punta Gorda canals.  Don’t forget that trout season is not closed during December this year.  Trout have been scattered on the flats on both sides of the harbor, but will soon begin to school in dredged canals and in a few of the deeper creeks as the water temperature drops.


*Snook season closed until September 1, 2013
*Gag grouper season closed November 1, opens June 1
*All other grouper close Feb. 1, open April 1
*Gray triggerfish closed in Federal Waters on June 11, opens January 1, 2013

Let’s Go Fishing!

Capt. Ralph Allen


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Charlotte Harbor and The Gulf Fishing Report, 10/6/12, from Capt. Ralph Allen, The King Fisher Fleet

by on Nov.06, 2012, under Middle Charlotte Harbor, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, Upper Charlotte Harbor

Gulf of Mexico

Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, sharks and a few stray blackfin tuna are haunting southbound schools of migrating bait fish, offering outstanding action for offshore anglers who find the action. Since everything is on the move, one day’s hotspot can be the next day’s desert, but since everything is generally moving parallel to the coast, if you know the depth they were at yesterday you can start your search there.  Things to look for:  diving birds, breaking fish, schools of bait which show on your depthsounder, and happily-hooked-up anglers on other boats.  Trolling usually produces the most fish but drifting the edges of the action and casting with light tackle can be a blast, and it’s also possible to anchor down, chum heavily with live and/or dead chum and pull the fish to you.  If you’re fishing within about ten miles of the beach, don’t be surprised if you find yourself attached to a very large redfish (or several of them at once) because schools of brood-stock reds run the beaches in the fall.  If you tire of mackerel fishing (or limit out), the bottom fishing for red grouper, lane snapper, grunts, porgies and other assorted reef fish is good on flat rock in 65 feet of water or deeper, and amberjack are stacking up on wrecks and artificial reefs starting in about 80 feet of water.

Charlotte Harbor

The biggest news on our inshore fishing scene is that for the first time in many years trout season is open in November (and December).  So far the best trout fishing has been on the flats in two to three feet of water in the upper harbor, and on slightly deeper grass flats in the lower harbor and nearer to the Gulf.  When temps cool a bit further look for trout fishing in canals, creeks and boat basins to perk up.  The redfish action in 2012 continues to be better than we’ve seen in several years with good numbers of slot fish found along the mangroves on both sides of the harbor, and fishable numbers are showing up in the canal systems and up the rivers now as well.  Snook continue to benefit from nearly three years of closed season, with many homeowners reporting stacks of fish gathered around their snook lights, and anglers playing the catch-and-release game with good numbers of smaller fish with a healthy mix of larger specimens, a sure sign of a recovered stock.  Sheepshead are starting to bunch up around some of their winter spawning sites including the piers at El Jobean and Placida, the artificial reefs in the harbor, and under docks and around rip-rap in the canals.  This winter fishery is just getting started and will become hotter and hotter as the water becomes cooler and cooler.

Snook season remains closed,  opens September 1, 2013
Gag grouper season closed November 1
All grouper close February 1, open April 1
Grey triggerfish closed in Federal waters June 11, opens January 1

Let’s Go Fishing!

Capt. Ralph Allen

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